Another dog day for Carroll

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Andy Carroll’s frustrations last night weren’t hard to see, but do you blame him? For the 11th game in a row the big striker failed to find the back of the net, making it a lowly 5 goals in 30 games since his 35 million pound move from Newcastle 12 months ago.

I’ve copped a lot of flak from friends and family throughout 2011 for the Carroll signing, and I’ve defended him to the hills and back – perhaps surprisingly I’m going to continue in my defence of the 22-year-old.

It seems whenever there is the faintest of signs of discontent at Anfield, everyone jumps on the back of Carroll. I don’t blame them, he’s an easy target. For a big money signing, he hasn’t lived up to expectations, but I think some fans may be going too far in their rejection of Carroll.

I watched his performance closely last night, and genuinely felt sorry for him. In the absence of Suarez, Gerrard and Bellamy, often his closest support came from two defensive minded midfielders in Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing – hardly the type of player you can expect to run past and collect a flick on or a hold up.

Furthermore, our midfielders continued to mindlessly hoof the ball to Carroll. A statistic which reflects Carroll’s agony up front is that we had 37 long balls played into the area – compared to Manchester City’s 4. How do you expect someone to beat four defenders in the air 37 times?

By the end of the game, I got fed up with watching Vincent Kompany head every single cross easily away. I’m sure Carroll would have been as well.

I still believe Andy Carroll has what it takes to become a Liverpool hero. There were glimpses of his newly formed partnership with Steven Gerrard against Newcastle which highlighted my belief. The skipper’s energetic introduction saw him whip delightful passes to Carroll inside the area, one which he smacked against the bar and a couple more which he probably should’ve taken advantage of.

So in saying this – I beg of you to stick by big Andy. Show him the support and faith that he needs, because I’m sure that one day we’ll reap the benefits of a deadly striker at the top of his game.

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  1. I actually agree. A striker is nothing without good mix and supply of opportunities. I thought we might make it into the top 4 this season but there is absolutely zero chance of this happening as our midfield is too slow and not creative enough. The evidence:

    Downing – has some pace but not quick enough to get in behind defenders on a consistent basis. His crosses almost never have enough pace and danger on them a la Bellamy. And seems to have lost his confidence in front of goal. How he didn’t score that chance against Hart is beyond comprehension.

    Gerrard – world class but needs more game time and is moving past his prime.

    Spearing – Not a game changer and still in the early years of his career and needs more experience. Definitely a candidate for loaning out to another team.

    Lucas – approaching world class but not around.

    Adam – has flashes of quality but is frustratingly inconsistent. Doesn’t have the same level of creativity (a la Gerrard), can be quite selfish sometimes, gives away silly fouls and generally not elite level.

    Kygt – tireless but tiresome. Makes a lot of sloppy mistakes, has no pace and has lost his knack for scoring goals. At 31, his best years are now behind him and perhaps Liverpool should think about selling him either this window or in the summer.

    Henderson – lots of potential (definitely one for the future) but needs more game time and indoctrination into the LFC way of playing. Could be great.

    Maxi – good eye for the ball and more of a clinical finisher. But his legs are going and isn’t the answer to our creative deficit.

    We are sorely lacking power, pace and creativity in the mid field – the attributes of players like Toure, Jesus Navas, Bale, Mata or Adam Johnson would really be welcome in the side. At the moment, we are just way too predictable and have zero menace (apart from Saurez and Bellamy) to terrify sides. How a massive team like Liverpool can get to the point where our season is dependent on the fitness and availability of 3 key players (i.e. Saurez, Bellamy and Gerrard) is beyond my comprehension and speaks volumes about the lack of management foresight. A top side like Liverpool should have a world class player (or a player approaching world class) for most positions.Put frankly, even if we were to gain a champions league spot for next season, we would simply be torn apart by the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayen Munich.

    On current form, it’s looking like MCFC, MUFC, TFC and CFC will likely get the top four slots. Don’t really see them dropping too many points as their squads are deep and good enough to last the distance. Arsenal have an outside chance at top 4 but will probably finish 5th. LFC will probably finish 6th. Possible 5th at a push.

    Kenny really has to do something soon as it won’t be long before fans discontent with this disjointed and quite frankly poor set of mediocre and pedestrian performances start to wash up on his doorstep.

  2. Great article.

    I do feel sorry for Carroll because he has had many chances to be a hero, the home fixtures against Man City and Blackburn to note.

    And he is trying his best to improve. He didn’t ask to be bought at 35million, he wouldn’t have had to leave if Torres didn’t do his last minute transfer.

    The same goes for Henderson, Downing and Adam flak, and as fans I believe we should be encouraging or be encouraged by the performances they offer. We didn’t buy crocks, we bought 3 of the best 8 chance creators last season, and you look at the chances created, it’s not like they hoofed random balls. Nobody asked Mark Bunn and Joe Hart to only star against Liverpool.

    I do hope that fans can really unite behind the team, we are really just 3 points off the top and it’s not like we are contesting the title. The amount of flak received seems to suggest so. And the criticism for Kenny’s selection is stupid, we may not understand why he drops Maxi and Bellamy, we can come up with our own theories, but if we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes (eg, maybe to keep Maxi’s confidence as a super sub high or Bellamy doesnt have the same stamina to last match after match), we have no right to question, and this is not based on blind loyalty, but if the manager has a tactical explanation we don’t have to understand, then it is his choice.

  3. I totally agree. Carrolls main strength is his ability in the air. Our wide play is nothing short of diabolical. Downing is one paced, not that skillful and his crossing has been terrible. Last night I counted about 15 crosses that never made it past the front post / first man. And as for our corner taking…well…It’s not all Carrolls fault. Downing is awful, Kuyt / Adam have been poor of late, Spearing is not creative and Henderson is cutting his teeth.
    It was the same when we had Morientes. He struggled because we had no width at all. Everyone can see it.

  4. The question that never seems to get asked is – Why isn’t Andy Carroll playing like he did at Newcastle ?

  5. Is this Andy Carroll’s mum penned as a pseudonym?? Come on. lets face it, he is slow, no, he is actually laborious. I saw nothing last night that will make me change my mind from when he first signed a year ago. I agree, he is taking all the flak for the other non-starters, Messrs Downing, Henderson and Adam but that still does not forgive his lacklustre attitude. If ever a team needed cutting edge quality rhen it is my beloved Liverpool. But Carroll is not the answer, and wont be – sadly.

  6. Sorry Mate , I understand that you are sticking up for Andy but I don’t agree thats its anything to do with the service from the wings or Midfield.
    Carroll doesn’t try hard enough for me and any type of ball into the box doesn’t seem to make any difference to the Guy .
    I am a Liverpool supporter since 1982 and I cannot for the life of me , remember a worse no 9 to ever play for Liverpool and I think the club made a huge mistake buying Carroll

  7. I cant see it ever working,his style is not what a team needs in this day and age. Players need to be a ball players,this type off player is 25 years out of date.If we ever get into europe again he will be a liability.We’ve been here before with Heskey too slow all round.Long balls dont work any more against good teams,defenders are to good these days.Time to own up to the mistake and do the best we can for both club and player.

  8. The way I look at it is simple. If Harry Redknapp had Andy Carroll in his team, he would be getting 15-20 goals out of him. Why? Because he gets the best out of people and the Tottenham squad has much more creativity in it than ours, see Modric, Bale, Van Der Vaart. Its not hard to see that he doesnt fit our system and we are a Xabi Alonso + Jermaine Pennant away from being able to utilize Andy’s strengths. see past evidence of Peter Crouch. I will continue to support him, and so should everyone else because we probably will have to make do with Carroll, Bellamy and Kuyt for the next 6-8 weeks, and thats much weaker than a forward line with a potential inclusion of Carroll. People should be getting on Kuyt and Downings backs for next scoring PERIOD.YNWA

  9. I thought this piece summed it up nicely. The service to Carroll has been shocking, rarely have crosses (and especially corners) beaten the first man. Carroll needs balls coming in that he can attack, just like he did against Newcastle when he hit the bar, but he also needs support too.
    Last night was easy for City to defend against him as they frequently had 4 defenders in the box against just him – he cant be expected to win or make space to win every ball in a 4 on 1 situation.
    Yes his movement has been poor, but last night it looked much better and I think it is because he is now getting a run in the team. Playing the odd 15 minutes here and 1 start in 4 or 5 games means he isnt match fit or sharp – at Newcastle he played week in week out. With the exception of players like Gerrard, very few players that have been out injured for a while will be able to get back up to their previous level without a good run in the team. Hopefully the silver lining on the Suarez situation will be that Carroll gets an opportunity for that run and comes good as a result, but he needs decent service and good support as well.

  10. I too support Andy Carroll, the service he receives from an inept midfield is awful. Adam is never a first team player, far too inconsistent and slow. Spearing is a very poor Lucas and will only improve if given game time, but he will never get enough games at LFC. Downing shows glimpses of what he’s capable of but I fear again he is too inconsistent to be a first team regular. Henderson is young, has bags of potential and will improve but again he is not quite there yet and really shouldn’t be starting every game. Maxi is a clever player but it’s rare for him to have the legs to finish a game. Kuyt has been a great servant for LFC but I feel it’s time for him to move on while we can still get a decent fee for him. Gerrard is still the key player and will be for another few seasons yet. Overall Kenny’s remodelling of the midfield has so far been poor, he has added to squad depth and possible stars of the future but the first team midfield is still way short of the quality it needs to compete with the top teams in the Premiership and Europe. Until the midfield is sorted, hopefully when Kenny realises he needs to add top quality players to a very average midfield then Andy Carroll will continue to struggle.

  11. ericthered- you don’t see how it is anything to do the wings or the midfield??
    Of course it is! Almost every single cross last night did not make it past the first man! Johnson had about 5 minutes to cross one in the first half and hit a defender 10 yards from him!
    Strikers must rely a lot on confidence, get Carroll one goal and he will be OK I reckon. He is never going to be a Suarez, because he is clumsy and his second touch is a tackle – but I can still see him scoring goals.
    Having said all that…I don’t think he is ever going to be a goalscoring legend and score a bucket load of goals and I certainly don’t think he is, or ever will be worth 35m.
    What the hell is happening to the youth? We keep reading / seeing the likes of Suso / Adam Morgan / Raheem Sterling etc etc – when will they be introduced for some first team playing time?
    The next signings are important for KK, because he has not done the best yet!

  12. How long do we have to give time for a striker who is the most expensive British player ever signed??!!!(to prove himself)For those who still have hope, I feel sorry and sad, Andy Carroll is not a Typical Liverpool FC player is simple as that, as a Foreign supporter which I am is really hard to accept.

  13. Manny75

    I wasn’t talking about the service from the wings in last nights game , I’m talking about all games in General .

    I agree that the wingers need to put in better deliveries but to suggest that the route of Carroll’s problems in front of goal are down to other players is plain crazy.

    the guy doesn’t look interested or hungry to make a name for himself at LFC.

    Personally speaking , I think the style of play since King Kenny came back has been better than anything we have played in the last decade or so . I don’t think we should change our style to suit a player , who frankly , is not good enough

  14. @ ericthered – to blame everything on Carroll is just plain bonkers. Our midfield should be creating and SCORING chances – fact of the matter is that Daglish/Comolli have bought and grossly overpaid for mediocre players.

    Someone isn’t doing their job well in the management setup and I just hope that NESV has the bottle to make the changes where necessary as this is getting ridiculous.

  15. @ ericthered

    I personally agree that our style of play has been much improved since KK has taken over. We are pleasing to watch again and the general passing / movement has greatly improved.
    But perhaps the bigger question is:-
    If KK intended to bring back our pass and move principles – which he clearly has – then why did we invest so much money in Carroll? He is hardly ‘Mr Pass and Move’ is he?
    I can’t believe for a minute the KK was not aware of his attributes or his weakness – so why did he contradict his style of play by bringing Carroll in in the first place?
    Panic Buy – an expensive one!
    Put someone else in even from the youth with pace, a decent first touch and they will score goals – but for me, that is not Carrolls fault. Our playing style or our areas of skill, does not suit his.

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